Release Day Review and Giveaway: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising Release Day

Red RisingRelease Day Review and Giveaway: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Book 1 in Red Rising series
Release date: January 28, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Book provided by NetGalley and Random House Del Rey Spectra

Synopsis from Goodreads: The war begins…

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable – and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labor, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda…


Red Rising is easily my favorite book of 2014 – and we’re only in January.

Red Rising is one of those books that sneaks up on you. It starts off slowly and then takes off in a rush of adrenalin. The opening line sets the tone:

”I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.

And so begins an amazing thrill ride…

I think I Red Rising because of many factors. The world building was fascinating and highly detailed. Red Rising is set on Mars in the future. Mars has been colonized by humans who live both above and below the surface. Those who live below the surface are the Reds – the lowest caste, the miners. They’ve been led to believe that their work is to mine the material needed to make Mars habitable. On the opposite end are the most privileged, the Golds, the top of the castes. Other color coded castes populate the planet, each color specializing in a certain specialty such as science, medicine, service, policing, etc.

I enjoyed Red Risingbecause it has one of the more interesting teenage characters I’ve met in years. Darrow is only 16 years old and a Red, a child of miners and a miner himself since he was 13 years old. He’s a Helldiver, a particularly dangerous type of miner and he’s one of the best in his region. Darrow is happily married to the love of his life Eo and they are literally head over heels in love with each other. Darrow’s happiness is cut short when Eo is executed for inciting rebellion. Darrow’s grief is overwhelming and in an act of compassion, he buries his wife and gets sentenced to death.

The story takes off from here. Up to this time, there have been only whispers that all is not well in this world. It is forbidden to even sing a simple song, as it is the song of the rebels. Darrow finds himself resuscitated and whisked away by the members of the rebellion. He is surprised to find that there are cities on the surface of the planet. Darrow agrees to infiltrate the Golds and become one of them which is not an easy feat as he undergoes numerous surgical procedures, pain, coaching, and even learning how to read, all so that he could pass as a Gold and enter their Institute.

When we finally see what it is that the Golds do to train their leaders, it is shocking and appalling. This is Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies on speed. Kill or be killed. Fight or become a slave. It’s not really individuals against individuals – it’s house versus house. Some of the houses have advantages either in location, equipment, food, or soldiers. Several characters stand out in this part, notably Sevro, who at first glance, did not seem like much but his fierce and wolf-like behavior were a real asset for Darrow. Mustang was a good ally as well, and surprisingly tough when necessary. Then there was the fearsome Jackal, the one adversary that all the houses were afraid of.

The game has no rules and no time frame. The winner is the person who controls all 12 houses. Darrow has a unique insight into the game. He has nothing to lose. Once he learns that the game is rigged, he “breaks” the rules himself. Darrow is also remarkably civilized. When he hears that a girl has been raped, he punishes the offender with 20 lashes, earning the respect of others.

The writing is powerful, evoking the senses, the emotions, and the atmosphere. I loved how Darrow was portrayed. He kind of was 16 going on 30, which may not be a good thing in most young adult books, but his life experiences added to his maturity. Even though Eo only appeared in the first few chapters, her presence was greatly felt throughout the novel as Darrow was constantly living for her and grieving her loss.

Red Rising was an amazing read. I want to read the next book now, now, now!

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Best of SF

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Del Rey Spectra for a review copy of this book.


This is a Flash Giveaway by the publisher for a tote bag and a signed copy of Red Rising. Contest is open to US Residents only. Click on the link to enter below:

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Comments 3

  • […] Another book about Mars. Why not? Red Rising was one of the first books that I read in 2014 and it was also one of my first 5 star reads for 2014. The beginning is a little slow as we learn about Darrow and his life deep in the mines of Mars. Darrow is a Red and has lived below the surface of Mars mining a mineral which will make the surface of Mars able to support human life. Of course, nothing is as it seems and Darrow learns that the surface of Mars is inhabitable and that Mars is ruled by the Golds who lead a privileged life. The pacing picks up and it is like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones and Lord of the Flies on speed as young Golds learn how to become leaders of Mars. You can read my review of this book here. […]

  • Hope you like it! I can’t wait to read it again.